In Education, it has been “normal” for our kids…. yet, bookkeepers can go to jail for that.
Striking up a conversation with a mom/working professional on an airplane leaving Atlanta, we discussed the literal weight of textbooks. Like me, at least one of her kids was in high school. The textbooks, which are often not referenced by the educator other than for homework, have become a 50 to 70 pound weight attached to our kids back. The books are utilized “just enough” that they need to be available for class. Grrr!
The solution, for many families that can afford it, is buying a 2nd set of books. With $200 textbooks becoming the norm, I am rethinking my corporate greed chart. But before I do that, I see a huge opportunity to right the corporate wrongs with the introduction of digital “textbooks”.
Tablets and smart devices are invading the consumer markets at an astounding rate. With tens of millions of tablets shipped in 2011 and with that total expected to double this holiday season alone, we all have powerful new platforms to deliver content and assessment. Innovative SAAS providers are partnering with instructors, authors, schools, educators and students to build an ecosystem, which disinter mediates the publishers, who have a dated and oligopolistic perspective on the world.
Am I being naïve? How many roadmaps do we need to see where we are heading? Songs, movies, document sharing and virtually every other type of media and format have transitioned to the web. Shifts are happening in months not years.
In 2012, we will witness massive growth and adoption of content that is available for the tablet and smart devices. Combine adoption, growth of “digital textbooks” directly from the authors, a $199 price point of tablets (cost of one text book), catastrophic budget concerns, and we have explosive growth. The icing on the cake is that these tablet and smart devices deliver a better experience. Students instantly consume, mash up and share data that is pre-determined from the instructor and is constantly updated.
So, why am I so excited about millions of books and web access fitting snugly under a single arm of our students? Well, beyond the obvious stated above about my own children and my wallet, I am involved in education every day vocationally. I am part of Via Response Technologies building and delivering next generation student response systems.
Like textbooks, legacy hardware based “clickers,” with their extremely limited software, will rapidly fade away in 2012. Likewise, higher stakes assessment, which has been done by bubble sheets, can be done so much better. Our company, Via Response, is instantly available to provide powerful new constructivist model for frequent and solid gains in learning through a bevy of new formative assessment types that are more engaging and less intimidating.
At Via Response, we continue to work to make our system easy-to-use and streamlined for instructors and students. With a solid FERPA compliant security model, we introduce a bevy of liberating benefits for instructors over the current hardware based response systems. And, I am not overdramatizing the “liberation” Via Response provides. Instructors can build assessments from their couch, change a grade on the fly and have student’s access formative assessment data instantly. Instructors utilize any computing platform anywhere, anytime. Educator’s maintain complete control while allowing for powerful self-help capabilities to their students.
With our core platform launched, we are now exploring ways to open up our system for innovation and growth with our educator partners. We know our success will be achieved by working in an ecosystem that builds a better open learning environment. We want you to think of Via Response as the nexus of where students synthesize and validate learned material on any device in our 21st century classrooms.
As for the two sets of books… That will fade away in 2012 and be completely gone in 2013. Content and assessment delivery on tablets is a train heading 80 miles per hour west and the publisher/assessment companies can either hop aboard or lay on the tracks. I think we all know the result and I am at peace again. Call me or anyone on our team today, to see what cloud based assessment is all about.
Derrick Meer, COO
Via Response Technologies